The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The formula for a successful classroom

New chemistry teacher leaves an outstanding first impression
New+chemistry+teacher+Cat+Gamboa+poses+in+her+lab%2C+excited+to+meet+new+students.
Kaelyn MacKay
New chemistry teacher Cat Gamboa poses in her lab, excited to meet new students.

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Cat Gamboa spent all of her childhood moving to different schools in Virginia because her father was in the military. Moving frequently for young students is very stressful because of the constant change in environments.
“[Moving around a lot] gave me a lot of useful skills,” Gamboa said. “I’ve been described as a very hardworking, organized, and ambitious person.”
Through her experience, she was already set on providing the same comfort and understanding to other students that she was offered at her schools when she was the new kid.
“Having a teacher who cared about me and understood me really made the difference,” Gamboa said. “One of my teachers at my first high school was really amazing [because] he knew his students really well and I wanted to be like that.”
Gamboa was torn on whether she wanted to become a scientist or a science teacher when she was deciding her career.
“It took me a little while to figure out where I was going, but I [have] always loved science,” Gamboa said.
After teaching 7th grade biology and 8th grade chemistry, she found her dream job in teaching chemistry for high schoolers.
“Chemistry is the coolest science [because] my understanding of the world really changed after I took chemistry,” Gamboa said. “Looking back at it now, I’m glad that I ended up landing here.”
As Gamboa strives to guide herself and the people around her to keep making a positive impact at McLean, her efforts are demonstrated through the way she runs her class.
“Ms Gamboa is really nice; she cares a lot about her students, and makes sure to engage with us,” sophomore Aidan Zhang said. “We do a ton of icebreakers which shows how interested she is in talking to us.”
Other teachers at McLean recognize that her engaging classroom atmosphere is reflected by her positive personality.
“I like how the class is structured [because] she breaks things up like a routine [with] a good balance of individual work [and] partner work,” learning disabilites teacher Tim Marden said. “We have fun breaks and are able to get to know each other which is great.”
Besides showing care to her students, she also leaves a positive impact on the staff team through co-teaching.
“She’s really easy to work with and very organized,” Marden said. “She communicates really well with me, I think it’s a good partnership.”
Gamboa hopes to teach for her whole life as it has been a passion of hers since a young age. McLean has been a great way to continue her career and open new opportunities.
“McLean has been a really amazing experience so far and I hope I’ll be able to continue to contribute to the community,” Gamboa said. “I feel like I’m still learning tons of new things everyday.”

View Comments (2)
Donate to The Highlander
$45
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation supports the McLean High School's independent, award-winning news publication.

More to Discover
Donate to The Highlander
$45
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (2)

All The Highlander Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • N

    Nancy MacKaySep 19, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Nice article. The world needs more Cat Galboa’s.!!! What a wonderful impact she is making on her students.

    Reply
  • W

    Will MacKaySep 19, 2023 at 8:28 am

    Nice article. Sounds like Ms Gamboa is leaving a legacy that goes beyond the classsroom. McLean is fortunate to have her.

    Reply